THE ALREADY strong group of tall prospects headed for next year's draft has some new faces, with three more key position players among the additions to the NAB AFL Academy squad.
Noah Balta, Hayden McLean and Sam Taylor are three of the five new players included in the level two Academy group (who are draft eligible in 2017).
They will be joined in the group by exciting half-forward Cameron Rayner and midfielder Paddy Dow, who fill the remaining two places left open by selectors.
Balta, a 193cm prospect from the Calder Cannons, showed excellent signs this season as a bottom-ager, while the 196cm McLean featured in the Sandringham Dragons' TAC Cup premiership win.
At 191cm, West Australian Taylor joins the list of next year's prospects measuring in at key position size, alongside Connor Ballenden, Jarrod Brander, Alex Paech and Nathan Richards.
Sam Hayes, Tom De Koning, Oscar Clavarino and Callum Coleman-Jones are other developing talls in the NAB AFL Academy, which has clubs excited about next year's pool.
The strong group of midfielders and smaller types at the top end of this year's draft has clubs already looking ahead to what is coming through in 2017, with many recruiters excited by the spread of players in different positions.
All five new additions played in the under-17s NAB All Stars game on Grand Final morning at Punt Road Oval, with AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan saying that contest was a part of their decision-making process.
"That was just part of the consideration in how they went in that game, but we also looked at their years overall and engaged the club recruiters who were part of the selection panel," Sheehan said.
"The clubs have gone big with this group and they add to the impressive group of talls that have been assembled for the academy next year."
Rayner shot onto the scene late in the season, with the athletic Western Jets half-forward kicking a bag of seven goals against the Bendigo Pioneers and backing it up with a five-goal haul against the Calder Cannons the following week.
All new inductees of the academy will take part in the squad's camp in Darwin later this month before heading to America in January for a training camp.
New academy head coach Luke Power will start his role at the AFL on Monday.